"If you take what you did to meet your toh and make it so it might as well never have happened, how have you met your toh? Remember your Aiel heart, girl."
   — Egewne's Sorilea in her head

External summary

<<<   Journey to Salidar    >>>
Setting: Cairhien (city), Tel'aran'rhiod, Salidar

Point of view: Egwene al'Vere

Egwene is preparing for her journey to join the rebel Aes Sedai in Salidar. She fills her saddlebags until they are bulging and looks around, realizing that there's a lot here that still belongs to her, but she cannot take. She then realizes that she is stalling. Dressing is a chore because she is so sore from the administration of toh the Wise Ones provided upon her request. She quickly channels Spirit and opens a Gateway to Tel'aran'rhiod. She steps through and finds herself exactly where she thinks she should be, but in the World of Dreams. She finds a "dream-Bela" around the corner of her tent, reshapes the saddle to make it more soft to handle her sore posterior, and climbs on. Then she uses the unique features of Tel'aran'rhiod to make her injuries go away. Then she tells the mare that she needs to "run like the wind" tonight.

Surprising Egwene, Bela does so; every step seems to take them miles, even though the feel of the canter is like a slow trot. Scenes whisk by in a blur. Egwene stops occasionally to orient herself according to the map Siuan has placed in her head. Some time later, when she is sure she is well into Altara she lets Bela take smaller leaps, using the slower pace to identify the towns she passed through, finally lapsing into a normal trot. She reaches the outskirts of Salidar at last and applies caution to her final steps, which she makes herself, on the ground, to ensure that she is not a threatening figure upon approach. After thanking Bela, she channels Spirit once again and leaves Tel'aran'rhiod.

Her first step back into the real world reminds her sharply of the toh she received earlier that night―the pain is excruciating, having been held at bay in the World of Dreams. Her conscience tells her to leave it be, and she decides to endure the pain for the sake of her toh. After all she was there to fight for her right to be Aes Sedai, and yet as she thinks that, a sliver of doubt creeps into her mind―is that really why she is here?

Determined to let the Aes Sedai know she has arrived, Egwene corners a townswoman and requests to be told where she can find Sheriam Sedai. She is speaking to a woman named Nildra, who whines a bit then leads Egwene to Sheriam's cottage. She gets halfway through announcing Egwene when the door is wrenched open and Egwene is allowed admittance. The room is filled with seven Aes Sedai and someone she doesn't know and younger. Intense questioning follows about her experience of traveling through the World of Dreams. Egwene explains that she is fine and that there were no ill effects.

After a bit of verbal pampering, including a remark from Myrelle to let Egwene get her feet on the ground, the young Aes Sedai, who is really Siuan Sanche, snaps that Egwene does not have time to get her feet on the ground. Egwene hears the voice and knows the woman for Siuan. It is explained to a disbelieving Egwene that Nynaeve Healed Siuan's stilling. Egwene realizes finally that it really is Siuan, but a Siuan who is much weaker in the Power than the Siuan she used to know.

Egwene is offered a seat, but she chooses to stand because of her recent toh, though she does not let the group know that she is hurting. She asks about Elayne, and marvels at what Nynaeve has done. Other pleasantries are exchanged until Siuan harshly demands that they continue what they already began. She is met with cold stares from the other Aes Sedai present, and for a while she just stares back, but then humbles herself and apologizes.

Egwene half marvels, half frets over what she is witnessing. But one thing suddenly is made clear: they did not call her to Salidar because she had been masquerading as an Aes Sedai when she was a mere Accepted. They didn't even know that she had done so.

Finally, Sheriam announces that Egwene was called to Salidar to be made the next Amyrlin Seat.